Students hear from Kirk Kinsell of IHG for Executive Luncheon Program
By: Courtney Kubitza
First Published: February 3, 2014
Topics: In the News, Industry Partnerships, STHM School
More than two dozen School of Tourism and Hospitality Management students enjoyed an intimate executive luncheon Jan. 9th with Kirk Kinsell, President of the Americas for InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG). Even though the event occurred in the middle of the university’s winter break, students came ready to listen and heard a firsthand account of an extremely successful hospitality career.
IHG is global company with nine hotel brands, more than 4,600 hotels and nearly 674,000 rooms in nearly 100 countries around the world. With a vision to become one of the great companies in the world by creating Great Hotels Guests Love, it is safe to say that IHG knows hospitality.
Kinsell initiated the conversation by candidly admitting that he “liked to talk about himself.” He explained to the attentive audience that you are always your strongest advocate and therefore should enjoy talking about yourself, and be proud of who you are. Kinsell also reflected upon the importance of being aware of how others perceive you, because whether they are correct or incorrect, often times “perception is one’s reality.”
During the hour-long event, Kinsell recounted the journey that his career has taken, starting with taking organic chemistry as an undergraduate because of a desire to follow in his physician father’s footsteps to establishing his current home with IHG. He detailed key moments in his professional path and times when he leaned on mentors, and emphasized that when he moves on from his current position, the true mark of his legacy will be the quality of the company’s employees.
Kinsell also took the time to express to the students the importance of having an international experience throughout their career. He explained that in order to be cognizant of how others perceive you across a variety of different platforms, it is vitally important to experience diverse cultures and learn that each environment is different. Therefore, one may have to adjust their behavior in order to not be perceived incorrectly. Kinsell had the honor of experiencing an international career, as he served as Senior Vice President of Franchise for Holiday Inn Worldwide.
Kinsell also expressed to the students the importance of maintaining a balance between their work and personal lives. He compared the balance to a juggling act with glass balls and rubber balls, stating, “You have to be aware of which balls you can drop because they will bounce back to you, versus which balls you must always catch.” He then spoke of his personal belief that throughout his career, family has been a “glass ball” and one of the most important aspects of his life.